Ludwigsburg Palace: Everything You Need To Know

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Ludwigsburg Palace (Schloss Ludwigsburg in German) is one of the top castle tours in Germany!

Ludwigsburg Palace n Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The 90-minute tour gives you insights into what life in Ludwigsburg palace was really like, and how royalty behaved behind closed doors.  It’s a tour everyone can enjoy, even if you’re a skeptic about castle tours 

schloss ludwigsburg courtyard
The palace courtyard.

The History of Ludwigsburg Palace

The palace was built in 1707 and was the residential palace of the Dukes and Kings of Württemberg.  It’s one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque buildings renowned for its artistic achievements. Many of which you can see on the palace ceilings. The ceilings are really breathtaking and detailed. 

schloss ludwigsburg ornate hallway
One of the most ornate hallways I’ve even seen.

There’s no doubt that Schloss Ludwigsburg is impressive, but lots of castles are impressive:  Heidelberg Castle, Hohenzollern Castle, the diminutive (by castle standards) Lichtenstein Castle, Burghausen, the longest castle in Europe, and the Munich Residenz, to name a few.

What makes the Ludwigsburg Palace tour so special?

Unlike most other castle tours, you get a glimpse into the secret lives of the royals and servants who lived here. I found it absolutely fascinating.  Can you imagine being surrounded by opulence, yet having to dine in a windowless unheated room as the servants did? It really puts into perspective what working conditions must have been like.

The bedroom below may look like a rather lavish, but typical royal bedroom. That is until our guide takes us through the secret panel hiding the secret stairway to Duke Eberhard Ludwig’s mistress’ bedroom and the servant’s stairway. It’s all very mysterious and dramatic.

Can you spot the secret panel hiding the secret stairway for the Duke's mistress at Ludwigsburg Palace?
Can you spot the secret panel hiding the secret stairway for the Duke’s mistress?

I’m not sure why Duke Eberhard Ludwig felt the need for secrecy though.  His wife lived in the much more modest Old Palace in Stuttgart, over 20km away from Ludwigsburg.  

The Palace Affairs

Not far from Stuttgart’s only castle ruins.  Wilhelmine von Grävenitz may have only been a mistress, but she was very powerful.  Duke Eberhard Ludwig was so love-sick that he essentially let her rule over the state of Württemberg for 20 years.  As a result, he was the subject of gossip and ridicule for years. 

schloss-ludwigsburg-pink-bedroom

Then we have poor Elisabeth Friederike von Brandenburg-Bayreuth.  She was unfortunately married to Duke Carl Eugen.  It wasn’t likely that she used the secret staircase to her husband’s bedroom.

He was so busy carrying on the same amorous life he led before his marriage.  All while under the same roof as his wife!  One can only imagine how often the secret staircase to his bedroom was used – and not by his wife!

schloss-ludwigsburg-hallway
Despite living in opulence at Schloss Ludwigsburg, life was miserable for Elisabeth Friedenke von Brandenburg-Bayreuth due to her husband’s wandering eye.

After a few years of her husband’s extra-marital affairs, humiliation, and political failings, Elisabeth Friederike von Brandenburg-Bayreuth had enough and left  Ludwigsburg for good. Duke Carl Eugen was left without an heir – or a legitimate one at least.

schloss ludwigsburg grounds
The Ludwigsburg Palace gardens were often used as a banquet hall, thanks to Duke Carl Eugen, famous for his parties and royal festivities.

Ludwigsburg Palace Festivities

The one thing that Duke Carl Eugen had going for him was that he knew how to throw a good party.  He was, in fact, famous for his court festivities, operas and theater performances at Schloss Ludwigsburg.  The tradition continues, with performances still held there today.

Outside on the castle grounds, you’ll find the whimsical fairy garden which children love. And every year the palace is also home to the world’s largest pumpkin festival. This is your chance to see 450,000 pumpkins on display.

Know Before You go to Ludwigsburg Palace:

  • If you’re doing some other sightseeing in and around Stuttgart, consider the StuttCard, which gives you free entrance to the castle, which normally costs €13.30.
  • Guided tours are available March 15th to November 15th each year in English at 1:30 and 3:15.
  • Schloss Ludwigsburg is 15 km north from Stuttgart.
  • You can reach Ludwigsburg by taking the S5 train from Stuttgart. From the Ludwigsburg station, it’s a 4 minute (800 meters) walk to the Palace.
  • See the Schloss Ludwigsburg homepage for more info and check out these other places to visit in Germany.

Where to Stay in Ludwigsburg:

If you’re traveling by car, I recommend Schlosshotel Monrepos, a 4-star castle hotel situated on the lakeshore of Monrepos See, with its own golf course, riding stable and wine estate. It’s a 10-minute drive to the center of Ludwigsburg.

If you don’t have access to a car, nestor Hotel Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg is a better choice. This 4-star hotel is just 400 meters from Ludwigsburg Palace, features 19th-century brickwork design, elegant rooms, and a traditional German bakery.

See the Schloss Ludwigsburg homepage for more info and check out these other places to visit in Germany.

Ludwigsburg Palace’s walls may not talk, but by the end of the 90-minute tour, I could have sworn they were whispering secrets in my ear. The message was clear, just because you live in a castle, life is not always a fairytale.

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28 thoughts on “Ludwigsburg Palace: Everything You Need To Know”

  1. oh my gosh – that hallway was ridiculously ornate…I mean…i didn’t even know where to look first!

    I think I do want a hallway of humongous chandeliers though. my hallway is about 6′ long. I wonder how many i could fit. 🙂

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  2. @jenjenk – I spent several minutes in it just staring and if you’re going to have a hallway like that you’ve got to have the chandeliers to go with it 🙂

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  3. @Mette – I can’t imagine trimming those shrubs either – would take too much patience.

    @Inka – Thanks, I love these kind of stories as it’s easy to get carried away thinking how wonderful it would be to live in a castle when the reality may have been very different.

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  4. Wow – my princess-loving daughter would go mad for this castle. The castle and the grounds are beautiful and I love hearing about the history of the castle and the people who lived there.

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  5. Even though I love art and architecture, Baroque decoration is not really my thing, but this castle does look like quite a place to visit. I actually had not heard of it before. Next time I’m in Germany, I’ll have to put it on the list.

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  6. What an amazing castle–and stories to go with it! I wonder if they ever got bored living in a place like that…. even with the servants, they could have been kept busy just wandering in the garden!

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  7. I love the idea of a tour really delving into castle life. The lack of privacy alone makes it so unappealing to me! I loove reading historical fiction to learn more about that life… It’s so different than what we know now!

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  8. A beautiful palace filled with intrigue… love it! Can’t help but wonder if the Duchess had a secret visitor as well, back in the old palace.

    Fun to meet you in London, Laurel 🙂

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  9. Wow, majestic! It doesn’t seem to busy either, unlike Versailles for instance, which is good. Because let’s face it, it’s not fun to visit a place when you have to queue everywhere to get a peek.

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  10. Gorgeous views, I always enjoy exploring the castles, though I have only been to one in Germany that offered an English tour. I still loved exploring the rest of them and reading about them in a guide.

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  11. Beautiful. Castle tours in Germany are normally so dry. You’ve made me want to visit this one. I particularly like the expansive difference between the drab servants’ quarters and the opulence of the castle.

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  12. Yes, Ludwigsburg is impressive! So fancy, and there is so much to see (something like 9 museums inside). Whenever I had family come visit me from Canada, Ludwigsburg was always one of the castles I would take them too, along with the monasteries in Hirsau and Maulbronn, and castle in Heidelberg, and the three ruins around Dilsberg. I’ve taken the guided tour in Ludwigsburg at least four times and it never disappoints!

    Sharlie

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